The Sculpture Center

How can history matter in the present?

Founded in 1989, The Sculpture Center (TSC) is one of the only cultural institutions providing critical resources to sculptors along their journey. The Sculpture Center has offerings for people of all voices and backgrounds who imagine, create, make, advocate, communicate, and consume experiences in our communities. Using a variety of initiatives, including exhibition, commission, mentorship, conversation, and professional support, The Sculpture Center represents a belief that no matter an artist’s career stage, they are vital for envisioning a better world and contributing to the communities we want to live in.

TSC’s Crossroads series challenges the ways creative expression and approaches to exhibition-making can promote civic dialogue about our lives and communities—at home and across the nation. As part of this initiative and in partnership with the FRONT Triennial, TSC presents an exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Abigail DeVille, who creates immersive multimedia installations that engage us to rethink the past, present, and future, especially for the experiences of Black Americans, and feature a focus on storytelling and reviving forgotten narratives.

Inspired by the titular book of poetry by Langston Hughes, DeVille’s exhibition The Dream Keeper occurs in two parts: at TSC and in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, where Hughes resided as a teen. During a series of visits to the city, DeVille conducted extensive research into the material and cultural histories of the region, unearthing stories and re-weaving frayed narratives. Guided by the question, “Who are the dream keepers in Cleveland?” she explored Cleveland history from Indigeous times to the present, Native American tools, fossils, and local storytellers that have preserved factions of Cleveland culture and history.

At TSC’s Euclid Gallery she presents a labyrinthine installation of found materials that will serve as the backdrop for the results of her research, which include discoveries like the warren of salt mines below Lake Erie. Her outdoor installation at the Fairfax neighborhood’s Quincy Garden is a gathering of semi-figurative and abstract sculptures that references the tradition of African American yard art. Each figure carries the cast face of a member of the community, the storytellers helping to preserve the narrative of Cleveland.

Abigail DeVille, The Dream Keeper, 2022, Installation view at The Sculpture Center. Courtesy of the artist © Abigail DeVille. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Fleischner Family Charitable Foundation, and Arts Midwest. Photography by Field Studio.

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Outside view Photo